Moon Ate the Dark Challenge: S. M. Wilson/The Dark Ones

There were so many samples to choose from. Glistening gems of confection arrayed in perfect rows on smooth, white paper with just the rim of the silver tray beneath edging out from under. They beckoned to Moon with an allure she could not quite place. It all swept over her at once.

“Moon, you’re zoning out.”


“You’re a little glossed over there, honey.”

“Right. Oh. Mom, I’m sorry. I just was … I mean I can’t decide which to try first. I mean, I think, and you may find this a somewhat abstruse observation, granted, but I really think there’s something being said here, by this tray of delectables, that even the most Philistine among us would have to recognize as at least being a strand in what seems to me, not to draw this out or anything, but it seems to me what’s being said is undeniably at minimum a component, if not the centerpiece, of a larger truth that, really, I don’t think we’d, any of us, could deny.”

“Oh, Moon, you’re doing it again, honey. You know this type of thing isn’t healthy and Dr. Neon has mentioned more than once that your father and I should try to kind of, you know, nip it in the bud. Just pick one out and try it. Your sister’s over there wondering if you’re going to speak to her tonight. It’s her rehearsal Moon. It’s a special night for her.”

“Right, right. I’m sorry. I just … I’ll just, to summarize, I mean, just let me say I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the aesthetic component of gastronomic pleasure.”

Her mom took Moon’s hand and walked her to her sister.

It’s pain. It’s not an ache. It is acute. Every moment of every waking hour is soaked and dripping with a pain that she knows without doubt is carving a channel into her soul. There is comfort in having had him. It is the only warmth in her now. Deep and buried in her core, it clings to life with a gasping glow.

She saw it. (My God, she saw it.) She knows it happened quickly. Yet and still, and always and forever, he cannot be near her this day or any other. It is a pain she stoops and trudges and grunts and stands, finally, stands, every day to bear. She does not know why. She knows he would hate to see her hurt. She knows that. Always and forever.

She did her best impression of a not-disturbed person for her sister (she knew it was inadequate), and wandered through the pews, weaving through the flickering globes atop poles wrapped in fresh foliage. She paused near her father and traipsed her way back to the small round stand with the sample tray resting upon it. She had noticed a few that looked like dark chocolate with some kind of caramel glaze veiled over them. They reminded her so much of the burnished leather jacket he wore.

So those were the ones she ate. Moon ate the dark ones.

S. M. Wilson is a lapsed librarian and reformed jarhead. He revels in the transgressive and posts reviews, essays, short fiction, and poetry at Cognitive Agonist


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